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Wilson realtors get economic update
Feb 23, 2013 3:50 pm
Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County executive director G.C. Hixson told a group of local realtors Thursday the future is bright for development in Wilson County.
Hixson spoke during the annual meeting of the Eastern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors at the Lebanon Golf and Country Club.
“We are blessed with diversified jobs in Wilson County,” Hixson said. “…The housing industry is improving, but the national economy isn’t going to improve until the housing industry improves.”
Hixson referenced a Lebanon Democrat article from Feb. 15 that offered encouraging news on Wilson County’s housing market.
Hixson said 111 homes sold in Wilson County in January, the highest January since 2008. Of those, 22 percent were foreclosures or short sales and 32 percent were new construction. The median sold price was $185,343 with 87 median days on the market.
Hixson shared some statistics with the group. He said the 10-county area that makes up Middle Tennessee has seen the third highest growth rate with a 900,000-person population increase in recent years. And he said Wilson County’s population is expected to increase by 160,000 over the next decade.
With this growth comes economic opportunities, and 38 percent of all job investment in Tennessee came from Middle Tennessee in the past year, according to Hixson.
He then listed some factors that drive economic development, including available labor and workforce, available properties and infrastructure. Hixson said recent expansions of Interstate 40, State Route 840 and State Route 109 have helped pave the way for new industries to locate in Wilson County.
He said 18,000 people leave Wilson County to go to work each day while 50,000 vehicles pass by Lebanon each day and 60,000 pass by Mt. Juliet.
Hixson said areas like Hartmann Drive and Hamilton Springs in Lebanon are poised to see significant growth in the coming years. And while Providence in Mt. Juliet has seen an economic explosion recently, there’s the potential for further industrial development near the eastern corridor in Mt. Juliet, but only if roads there are further developed or created.
“I can take a TVA helicopter and look into the promise land, but I can’t get to it,” Hixson said. “We cannot sell from an empty wagon. We need homes, parks, industrial development.”
Hixson then talked about competition.
“If not here then certainly someplace else, and that’s our competition,” he said. “The [Nashville] airport and where we are today is a great asset, and we will begin developing out that way.”
Hixson said his office’s focus is quickly turning toward information technology companies with hopes to lure them to Wilson County.
“You are not being judged on where you are today,” Hixson said. “You are judged on where you are going.”
Hixson said overall, Wilson County’s investors are satisfied they made the decision to call it home.
The Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County was started in 1989 through an agreement between Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Watertown and Wilson County governments. Hixson has served the 25-member board as its director since June 2005.